Mellon, Ford, Getty, and Terra Foundations Announce New $5M Initiative Designed to Advance Latinx Art in Museums

Monday, February 13, 2023

Mellon, Ford, Getty, and Terra Foundations Announce New $5M Initiative Designed to Advance Latinx Art in Museums

(NEW YORK, NY - February 13, 2023) Mellon, Ford, Getty, and Terra Foundations today announced Advancing Latinx Art in Museums (ALAM)—the new initiative represents the second phase of a multi-year funding collaboration seeking to nurture and prioritize US Latinx art. The funding partners have committed a combined $5 million to the initiative, which will provide ten grants of $500,000 to institutions in support of the creation and formalization of 10 permanent early and mid-career curatorial positions with expertise in Latinx art. 

Latinx artists—creatives of Latin American or Caribbean descent who live and work in the US—have made significant and vital contributions to American culture for generations. ALAM is a collaborative initiative that aims to bolster museums and visual art organizations that have shown a commitment to collecting, studying, exhibiting, and engaging with Latinx art and artists by ensuring they have the capacity to employ specialist curators. Funding will support the hiring of five new curators and the promotion of five curatorial staff into permanent roles at institutions across the United States and Puerto Rico. The grant program will also include opportunities to enhance and grow the existing community of curators with expertise in Latinx art, connecting the individuals supported at each participating institution to each other and to a wider circle of museum professionals working in this space. 

“The deep knowledge and understanding of Latinx art these ten curators hold comes from rigorous expertise and commitment to the creative expression of Latinx communities in the United States and Puerto Rico,” said Elizabeth Alexander, president of the Mellon Foundation. “Through ALAM we are proud to help expand opportunities for Latinx art curatorship across the country, and to do our part in upholding the centrality of this work in our museums and arts organizations.”   

“We need to invest more if we want Latinx art to be more broadly represented in our museums, with dedicated curators who can focus exclusively on building and stewarding these collections,” urges Joan Weinstein, director of the Getty Foundation. "ALAM is a decisive next step made possible through collaborative funding.” 

“We are beyond thrilled to be selected as it represents a milestone for our institution to bring on more curatorial support in our projects specific to Puerto Rican artists in our collection,” explains Marianne Ramírez Aponte, executive director and chief curator of the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Puerto Rico. “With this funding, we will encourage greater knowledge about contemporary art by Latinx artists, expand our network with US-based Puerto Rican artists and other Latinx intersections, and build our support for artists on the island and in the diaspora.” 

“Institutional change can happen when we have experienced and knowledgeable voices at the table. We are eager to support the new curator as they join our team and help shape our work, all while affirming the importance of Latinx art and artists in the wider story of art and reinforcing our commitment to engage and serve Latinx audiences,” says E. Carmen Ramos, chief curatorial and conservation officer of the National Gallery of Art. “Our renowned collection offers opportunities for Latinx art to be presented in dialogue with both the national and the global, and we anticipate that the curator’s work will benefit from the breadth and depth of our expanding holdings.” 

People who identify as Latinx comprise nearly 20 percent of the U.S. population overall and considerably more in some of the country’s largest cities. Yet, Latinx causes and organizations routinely receive less than two percent of philanthropic funding. While annual funding for Latinx arts and culture has seen a gradual annual increase since 2020, Latinx artists remain the largest majority missing from most museum collections, exhibitions, scholarship, and programming. ALAM, and the greater Latinx Art Visibility Initiative, is part of a long overdue effort to support Latinx artists and to ignite a public conversation about the rightful place of Latinx art within American art. 

ALAM recipients include large institutions, college and university museums, and leading Latinx museums—spanning scale, modality, and location—all aligned in their commitment to building or expanding a curatorial focus on Latinx art and ultimately creating a more inclusive curatorial field. 

The 2022 Advancing Latinx Art Museums Recipients Institutions are:

  • 516 ARTS, Albuquerque, NM  
  • Arizona State University Art Museum in partnership with CALA Alliance, Tempe, AZ 
  • Blanton Museum of Art at the University of Texas at Austin, TX   
  • El Museo del Barrio, New York, NY  
  • Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Puerto Rico, San Juan, PR  
  • Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, San Diego, CA  
  • National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC  
  • National Museum of Mexican Art, Chicago, IL  
  • Newark Museum of Art; Newark, NJ  
  • Vincent Price Art Museum at East Los Angeles College, Los Angeles, CA 

Forty-eight museums and visual arts organizations from the US and Puerto Rico, that have shown a commitment to collecting, studying, exhibiting, and engaging with Latinx art and artists, were invited to apply. Applications were reviewed by a panel of five experts in Latinx visual art and museums.  

For more information on Advancing Latinx Art in Museums, visit the FAQ

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